Since its first performance at Rome's Teatro di Apollo on January 19, 1853, Il Trovatore has been one of Giuseppe Verdi's most successful operas. Within three years of its premiere, the opera was presented in over 150 opera houses in Italy alone, and performed as far away as London, Madrid, Odessa, Warsaw, Bucharest, Alexandria, Calcutta, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro. "When you go to India and the interior of Africa, you'll hear Trovatore," Verdi wrote to a friend.
"Il Trovatore was not just a success," one critic wrote, "it was a fashion." Certainly the plot, based on a Spanish play set in the fifteenth century, has elements of strong melodramatic appeal: a baby stolen at birth, mistaken identity, a Gypsy's curse, jealous rivals for the love of a beautiful woman, sworn revenge, armed conflict, and a tragic end. But clearly it is Verdi's music that lifts Il Trovatore into the first rank of popular operas.
Supremely melodic, vigorously paced, Verdi's score for Il Trovatore is filled with arias and vocal ensembles of thrilling power. It is grand opera at its most stirring, especially rich in opportunities for bravura singing. Now music lovers can savor and study in detail Verdi's scoring of this perennial operatic favorite with this finely made full-score edition.